A patent is the legal right conferred to an inventor (the “Patentee”) to exclude others from commercially exploiting an invention, which is granted in return for the disclosure of the invention by the Patentee.
In the Republic of Cyprus, the right to grant patents, as well as other forms of intellectual property, lies with the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (the “Registrar”), which has a division solely dedicated to this.
Patents are regulated by the Patent’s Law 16(I)/1998 as amended (the “Law”). An application for the registration of a patent can be filed only if the invention satisfies the following requirements set out in the Law:
- It is novel- Novelty is defined in section 6 of the Law which states that an invention is novel if it does not form part of the prior art. The Law goes on to define the term ‘prior art’ as meaning everything, which before the filing date (or in the event of an application claiming priority, before the priority date) has been made available to the public, whether in writing or other graphic form, oral description or through use or in any other manner, anywhere in the world;
- It is inventive – An invention may satisfy the requirement of Inventiveness according to Section 7 of the Law, if it can be determined that, having regard to the prior art, it is not obvious to someone who is skilled in the art; and
- It is capable of industrial application – Section 8 of the Law states that an invention is capable of industrial application if it can be produced or used in any industry.
An application for the registration of a patent is filed with the Registrar and consists of the application form accompanied by the description of the invention, the claims, a summary, relevant drawings (if any), and a certified translation of the documents in English, German or French.
Following the submission of the application form, the Registrar will conduct a preliminary examination to ascertain whether the application satisfies the typical requirements set out in the Law. Once the documents are examined, and any possible pending issues are resolved, the Registrar will notify the Patentee or his appointed representative to proceed to obtain and submit within 16 months from the date of filing the application (or the priority date, where such is claimed) an investigation report by a recognised International Patent Examination Office. The purpose of this report is to ascertain that a patent has not already been registered for the invention by another person.
Following submission of the investigation report with the Registrar, and provided that the invention is patentable, the Registrar will then issue a Patent Certificate and shall proceed to file the necessary application in the Cyprus Gazette.
A Register of Patents is maintained to record the names and addresses of the patentees as well as any other information which is considered necessary by the Registrar for the identification of the owner of the patent.
A Cypriot patent, once granted, will give the owner exclusive right to use the invention for a period of up to twenty years from the date of filing the relevant application, subject to the payment of an annual renewal fee.
In the case of pharmaceutical or plant protection products the period of protection may be extended to twenty-five years and in the case of paediatric pharmaceutical products to twenty-five years and 6 months.